It is indeed a privilege for me to have the splendid sight of majestic warships anchored in these waters of Bay of Bengal. The fluttering pennants and flags on the dressing lines, happy and proud men in white manning their ships is indeed heartwarming. I am privileged to be here today with all of you and review this imposing international parade of ships. 50 friendly navies have sailed across oceans and sent naval ships and/or delegations to participate in the first International Fleet Review on the East Coast of India at Visakhapatnam. On behalf of the Government, and the people of India, I extend a very warm welcome to all our foreign guests and thank you for honouring the invitation of our Indian Navy.
The navies world over have conducted Fleet Reviews to symbolise their loyalty, allegiance to the nation, and strengthen bonds between the sailors and the state. The International Fleet Review 2016 does that and much more. IFR 2016, while showcasing the prowess of the Indian Navy, has brought together navies from across the globe here on Indian shores, signifying our common desire to use the seas to promote peace, cooperation and friendship, as also to develop partnerships for a secure maritime future. Your presence in such large numbers has made this international event spectacular and truly reflects the spirit of this IFR, we are indeed ‘United through Oceans’. The waters that lap our coast also wash your shores, these great blue ‘COMMONS’ indeed link us to each other. IFR 2016 has enabled us to join hands and work together to secure our seas for the greater good of humanity and the world.
The navies of the world have a unique role in promoting goodwill, nurturing peace and tranquility of the oceans. Your ships and all personnel participating at this momentous fleet review are ambassadors of great nations that you represent. The message of friendship and goodwill of your people strengthens our belief in promoting peace, prosperity and stability for mutual co-existence and ensuring secure seas. I understand that your interactions during the past few days of your stay here have been exciting and you all are keenly looking forward to take part in passage exercises and will ‘sail together’ on completion of IFR.
India’s geographical location, astride the major shipping routes of the Indian Ocean, gives it a pivotal maritime role. Considering the globalised nature of today’s political and economic environment, it is our belief that the present day maritime domain requires navies across the world to re-focus their efforts to counter the rising tide of non-traditional maritime challenges in the brown, green and blue waters across all oceans. The Indian Navy, accordingly, has re-aligned its maritime strategy, to reflect the changes in the evolving global environment, and has established a credible record of cooperative initiatives to promote stability of the oceans, and played a central role in ensuring safety of the vital sea lines of communication, across the Indian Ocean.
My special compliments to the Indian Navy, especially the Eastern Naval Command, for the meticulous planning and flawless conduct of today’s splendid Fleet Review. An event of such magnitude could be organised only by the involvement and support of the people. May I thank and congratulate the Government of Andhra Pradesh and all citizens of Visakhapatnam for their cooperation.
I thank all naval ships and delegations assembled here for the Fleet Review to mark this historic occasion. I am confident that our guests from far and wide, will carry with them pleasant memories of the warmth and traditional hospitality shown by the people of India. I would urge that as you sail back to your homelands, carry with you our message of global peace and brotherhood, so that we can strengthen our bonds of friendship and secure a better maritime environment for future generations.